Solon: Placing BOC in military control deflects accountability from execs
An opposition lawmaker believes that placing the corruption-riddled Bureau of Customs (BOC) under the watch of the military was like imposing martial law, and “deflects” the issue of “exacting accountability” from the agency’s officials.
Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin said putting a purely civilian bureaucracy under military control was an “extreme response.”
“It’s as if President Duterte has imposed nationwide martial law,” he said in a statement.
But he pointed out that this also deflects the main issue “of exacting accountability to his appointees in the Bureau of Customs whom he absolved without even an investigation.”
In a speech during the thanksgiving party of former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano in Davao City on Sunday, Duterte said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) would run the embattled bureau while all of its employees were on floating status.
Apart from being “bereft of logical objectives,” Villarin said Duterte’s move may be a form of “conditioning our minds that only a military junta under him can run a government.”
Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon meanwhile defended the President’s decision, saying it may be a manifestation of his “frustration over the recurring problem of smuggling and corruption in the Bureau” and “an indication of his desire and commitment to reform the agency.”
“However, it just needs to be clear which positions will be taken over by military personnel, what functions they will assume and the parameters of their authority,” Biazon pointed out.
“Just like any mission given to the military before they operate, the objectives must be specific, their roles defined and an exit plan prepared,” he added. /je
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